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What is a modified Trendelenburg position?

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Quick Answer

A modified Trendelenburg position refers to when a patient is lying at an angle that elevates their feet and pelvis above their head. This position increases blood circulation and reduces pressure on the pelvic region.

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While there is some disagreement over the exact benefits of the modified Trendelenburg position, it is still commonly used in a variety of situations. During pelvic operations, surgeons will often position the patient with their pelvis above their head in order to space out the organs and allow for better access.

Traditionally, patients were placed in this position after experiencing some sort of brain trauma or shock. At one time, doctors believed that directing more blood to the brain aided in recovery and minimized the amount of damage. Over the years, studies have proven this theory to be incorrect. There remains a certain population that still believes that the modified Trendelenburg position can be beneficial, though much of the evidence quoted is anecdotal and not backed by science.

This technique is named after the famous German philosopher and surgeon Freidrich Trendelenburg who invented a long list of medical innovations and techniques that still bear his name. Throughout the 1800s and well into the 1900s, the Trendelenburg family produced a long line of physicians who made significant contributions to the field of medicine.

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